Last year was a busy one for arbitration practitioners in Australia and New Zealand, and 2019 looks set to be even busier. In 2018, both countries initiated a range of arbitration reforms, initiatives and negotiations which give insights into the likely general direction of travel for both countries in the coming year. This post focusses…

In 2013, China proposed to jointly build the “Belt and Road” Initiative. While the international investment agreements (“IIAs”) proposed to be concluded with China and its counterparties along the “Belt and Road” will provide a robust source of potential investor protections, they must be easily understood among investors, states, and international tribunals. IIAs, as the…

In a marked departure from its usual closed-doors policy, the Swiss Federal Supreme Court (the “Supreme Court”) recently held public deliberations in two separate appeal proceedings concerning foreign investment arbitrations. In both cases, a public deliberation by all five judges of the first civil chamber was necessitated due to the lack of unanimity among the…

While the jury is still out on whether winter is coming or has already arrived regarding ISDS and investment treaties, I would rather turn to agriculture and use the metaphor of sowing the seeds and harvesting. Since July 2010, when the European Commission published its very first Communication on ISDS and investment treaties, it has…

Last month, Seoul was once again brimming with eminent arbitrators and arbitration counsel, and leading alternate dispute resolution practitioners from around the world who had come to attend the Seoul ADR Festival 2018 – a much sought-after yearly event which has grown remarkably in scope and significance since it was first organized in 2015.1)This article…

Introduction The assessment of human rights within an investment arbitration framework, typical for the investor-state dispute resolution (ISDS) mechanism, is one of the topics which has gained significant momentum in the past years, and has led even to the establishment of a Working Group on International Arbitration of Business and Human Rights. Arbitral tribunals often…

The 8th edition of the Herbert Smith Freehills – SMU Asian Arbitration Lecture, jointly organised with the Centre for Cross-border Commercial Law at the Singapore Management University, took place on 18 October 2018. The distinguished event, graced by Chief Justice Sundaresh Menon, hosted a panel comprising: Sir Christopher Greenwood, DAG Lionel Yee, Judith Gill QC…

Introduction: The Pro-State Orientation of the USMCA Chapter 14 of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) presents a model of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) that fundamentally realigns the balance between investors and states in favor of the latter. This realignment consists in the USMCA’s structure and specific provisions. Structurally, the USMCA eliminates ISDS between Canadian investors…

Zooming out from the excellent analysis of Robert Landicho and Andrea Cohen on the specific changes that the USMCA as the intended successor of NAFTA will bring for investment protection and ISDS, this contribution will place the USMCA in a global perspective, in particular regarding the efforts of the EU to replace ISDS system with…

President Trump’s October 1, 2018 announcement that the United States, Canada, and Mexico have reached an agreement to replace the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) marks a veritable sea change in investor-state dispute settlement in the region. Previous and prospective users of NAFTA’s dispute resolution procedures will immediately note that this new free-trade…

Investor-state tribunals frequently face allegations of economic crimes, especially in jurisdictions with a weak rule of law. For instance, the largest ever investor–State award of $50 billion in Yukos v Russian Federation, primarily concerned a criminal investigation of alleged tax evasion, fraud and embezzlement by what was then the largest Russian oil company. The tribunal…

Recent events such as the NAFTA re-negotiations have drawn leading newspapers around the world to turn their attention to ISDS tribunals. Often in an effort to make their stories sensational, they speak of “obscure tribunals,” “secret trade court,” and “justice behind closed doors,” most of the time giving it an unfair and biased image. In…

Mexico held its general elections (including presidential election) on July 1st. The Government of the country has shifted from a center-right president, Enrique Peña Nieto from the Partido Revolucionario Institucional (Institutional Revolutionary Party), to the favorite candidate for the recent elections, the left-wing politician Andrés Manuel López Obrador (“AMLO”). AMLO, a member of the Movimiento…

Based on the panel discussion moderated at the 30th Annual ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting, with panelists Lorraine de Germiny, Robert Landicho, and Laura Sinisterra.1) This post is a summary of the first panel discussion of the Young ITA Roundtable, 30th Annual ITA Workshop and Annual Meeting: Multiple Proceedings, Multiple Parties, and International Arbitration: What…

Like a chronicle of a death foretold, the  systematic denunciation by Ecuador of the Bilateral Investment Treaties (“BITs”) signed with various states formally began in 2009.  Although, the origin of the complaints goes back to 2008, when the current Constitution of the Republic of Ecuador was enacted and specifically forbid the execution of any international…

On 26 May 2018, the Ninth Investment Arbitration Forum took place at the Juridicum of the University of Vienna jointly organized by Prof. Irmgard Marboe of the University of Vienna, Adriana San Román and Herfried Wöss of Wöss & Partners and ICC Austria. The topic of this year’s forum was “Valuation of Damages in Changing…

In the first part of this article, we discussed the problems of balancing an investor’s intellectual property rights with the sovereign right of a State. Now, we look at how Philip Morris v Uruguay has added to the debate. In 2010 Philip Morris challenged two measures adopted by the government of Uruguay: (1) a “single…

The constructive framework of ISDS was intended to promote investment and growth through the establishment of a stable and predictable atmosphere for investment. However, some have argued that this purpose has been warped to allow a small group of private individuals to rule on public matters. Arbitrations such as CMS v Argentina, Tecmed v Mexico,…

Without the rights and protections of a treaty, a foreign investor who suffers a wrongful act at the hands of a host State traditionally has no legal standing to pursue an international claim against that State.1) Case Concerning the Barcelona Traction, Light & Power Company Limited (Belgium v Spain) (Second Phase) [1970] ICJ Rep 3,…

In the context of the backlash against investor-state dispute settlement (“ISDS”), one of the main criticisms is the asymmetric nature of investment treaties, which impose numerous obligations on the States, but do not seem to hold corporations accountable for the social, environmental and economic consequences of their activities. Some recent developments reflect a redirection away…

This post gives a bird’s eye view of an   imminent investment arbitration and forecasts procedural and/or jurisdictional hurdles to the case, by analyzing the dispute resolution provision and relevant precedents, with the intention of highlighting recurring inconsistencies on a key procedural issue and urging for more predictable outcomes for the benefits of the stakeholders in…

The morning session of the last day of the ICCA Sydney 2018 Conference on “Potential of Arbitration Involving New Stakeholders” was moderated by Ndanga Kamau and had the insightful contributions of Dr. Campbell McLachlan QC, Prof. Makane Moïse Mbengue and Silvia Marchili. Ndanga Kamau opened the final plenary session by asking the following question: why…

The afternoon session of the second day of the ICCA Sydney 2018 Conference on “New Voices” was moderated by Monty Taylor and had the insightful contributions of Jawad Ahmad, Lucas Bastin, Samantha Lord Hill and Solomon Ebere. Monty Taylor opened the session by noting that not only was this a new initiative for ICCA, but…

The panel on Arbitration Challenged Part I: Reforming Substantive Obligations in Investment Treaties and Conditions of Access to Investment Arbitration, at ICCA Sydney 2018 Conference, was moderated by Meg Kinnear, Secretary General of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (Canada) and had contributions from speakers Christophe Bondy, Cooley LLP (Canada); Max Bonnell, White…